Islamic Commodity Funds
Another possible type of Islamic Funds may be a commodity fund. In the fund of this type the subscription amounts are used in purchasing different commodities for the purpose of their resale. The profits generated by the sales are the income of the fund which is distributed pro rata among the subscribers.
In order to make this fund acceptable to Shariah, it is necessary that all the rules governing the transactions of sale are fully complied with. For example:
1. The commodity must be owned by the seller at the time of sale, because short sales in which a person sells a commodity before he owns it are not allowed in Shariah.
2. Forward sales are not allowed except in the case of salam and istisna (For their full details the previous chapter of this book may be consulted).
3. The commodities must be halal. Therefore, it is not allowed to deal in wines, pork or other prohibited materials.
4. The seller must have physical or constructive possession over the commodity he wants to sell. (Constructive possession includes any act by which the risk of the commodity is passed on to the purchaser).
5. The price of the commodity must be fixed and known to the parties. Any price which is uncertain or is tied up with an uncertain event renders the sale invalid.
In view of the above and similar other conditions, more fully described in the second chapter of this book, it may easily be understood that the transactions prevalent in the contemporary commodity markets, specially in the futures commodity markets do not comply with these conditions. Therefore, an Islamic Commodity Fund cannot enter into such transactions. However, if there are genuine commodity transactions observing all the requirements of Shariah, including the above conditions, a commodity fund may well be established. The units of such a fund can also be traded in with the condition that the portfolio owns some commodities at all times.
Source: Republished with the kind permission of Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani.
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